South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has named the 33-man squad tasked with successfully defending the Webb Ellis Cup in France.
The squad comprises 19 forwards and 14 backs with Siya Kolisi named as captain once again with his return from a long-term knee injury imminent.
Pool B rivals Ireland, Scotland, Tonga and Romania have yet to reveal their hand but we will update this article as soon as they do.
Props Frans Malherbe and Trevor Nyakane, second-row Eben Etzebeth, back-row forwards Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen, centres Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel and full-back Willie le Roux will feature in their third Rugby World Cup tournaments after being named in Jacques Nienaber’s 33-man squad.
Those nine players are members of an even larger group who featured in the triumphant campaign of 2019 when the Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time following a 32-12 win over England in the final in Yokohama.
Also returning from 2019 are Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch (prop), Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx (hooker), RG Snyman (second row), Kwagga Smith (loose forward), Franco Mostert (utility forward), Faf de Klerk and Cobus Reinach (scrum-half), Damian Willemse (utility back), Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi (wing).
Fly-half Handre Pollard (calf), Lukhanyo Am (knee) and Lood de Jager (chest problem) have been placed on standby with six other players.
“Since Rassie (Erasmus – SA Rugby Director of Rugby) and I returned to South Africa in 2018 we’ve been building to the 2023 World Cup, and we are pleased with where we are, going into this World Cup,” said Nienaber.
“The coaches and players have put in a helluva lot of work in the last few years, and we have the luxury of naming a squad that features a big group of players who know what it takes to win a World Cup and who will enter the tournament with vast international experience.”
Forwards: Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, Jean Kleyn, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese.
Backs: Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Cobus Reinach, Grant Williams, Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse, Damian de Allende, Andre Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Canan Moodie.